I went to see Björn Weckström's (b. 1935) life work exhibition MAN, MACHINE AND JEWELLERY at the Didrichsen Art Museum. The exhibition was supposed to happen already last year in the artist’s 85th anniversary year, but luckily it could be opened now. I didn't know much about Weckström's life. I only knew him as a pioneering jewellery designer from the days of Lapponia Jewelry, but these human-sized mythical bronze figures were new to me. They are mindboggling, dramatic and, of course, stunning, but I find them pretty scary. Here's how Didrichsen's website says:
In Weckström's works, the myths of antiquity meet the scientific achievements and fantasies of our time - the conquest of space, genetic manipulation and the revolution of machines. The large, shiny bronze sculptures of the exhibition from the 1980s and 1990s, machine people, are like a vision of a future driven by technological development.
The jewellery exhibition features 86 pieces from Weckström's career. Included is one of the artist’s best-known jewels, the Planetoid Valleys Necklace seen in the first Star Wars film. Weckström has designed his most famous jewellery for the Finnish Lapponia Jewelry, which is now owned by Kalevala Koru Oy.
Weckström’s small marble and glass sculptures were sympathetic and approachable.
The exhibition included a series of stunning Stonehenge sculptures.
The thinker, 1988
MAN, MACHINE AND JEWELLERY
Didrichsen Art Museum 11.9.2021–30.1.2022
He has written a biography called The Designer of Myths (Bazar 2018).
The book is available in Finnish and Swedish.
"In his autobiography, Björn Weckström talks about the origins of his works and how they were received as well as interesting turning points in his career. As an artist, he has been a forerunner, whose works have often been ahead of their time. Probably the most familiar to the general public are golden Lapponia jewels and the silver necklage Planetoid Valleys of Princess Leia in Star Wars. Completely another size is represented by large sizes bronze sculptures depicting man, many of whom were inspired by ancient myths in his Italian studio.”